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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 April 2023

1

Met officers moved

Dozens of Metropolitan Police officers have been moved from “tackling serious crime and terrorism” and “instead told to investigate wrongdoing in the force”, said the BBC. Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said about 90 officers had been moved away from fighting serious and organised crime to the Met’s professional standards team after the force was branded as institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynistic in a damning report. Rowley said he wants the officers to “remove the cancer from the body”.

Is breaking up Scotland Yard the answer to its problems?

2

Questions over Murrell raid

Questions are being raised as to whether police in Scotland were pressured into delaying the arrest of Nicola Sturgeon’s husband until after a replacement was found for the outgoing Scottish first minister. Peter Murrell, the SNP’s former chief executive, was arrested yesterday as part of an inquiry into the party’s finances. A total of 10 uniformed officers were stationed outside of Sturgeon’s home, with curtains and blinds drawn, as the raid was carried out, said The National.

Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, arrested over SNP funding probe

3

Trump calls for FBI defunding

Donald Trump has called on the Republican Party to punish the FBI and Department of Justice to avenge his arrest. “Republicans in Congress should defund the DoJ and FBI until they come to their senses,” he posted on his Truth Social platform. He added that Democrats have “totally weaponised law enforcement in our country” and are “viciously using this abuse of power to interfere with our already under siege elections”.  The former president is “staying on the offensive a day after pleading not guilty to criminal charges in New York”, said The Times.

4

Asylum plan warning

The government has been warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if asylum seekers arriving in the UK are housed on military bases and barges. The Refugee Council and Choose Love have joined forces with faith groups and law centres to write to Rishi Sunak, urging him to “listen to common sense” and abandon plans for asylum camps at former RAF bases in Essex and North Yorkshire and the site of a former prison in East Sussex, along with proposals to use ferries and barges. Ministers say the £50 cost of housing asylum seekers on barges or in bases is a third of the £150 a day currently being spent to house 51,000 asylum seekers in nearly 400 hotels at an overall charge of more than £6 million a day.

Stop the boats: will immigration define the next election?

5

Royals disputed estates bonus

King Charles and the late Queen Elizabeth II received payments equivalent to more than £1bn from two controversial land and property estates, according to an investigation by The Guardian. The two estates are “at the centre of a centuries-old debate over whether their profits should be given to the public instead”, said the paper. Adjusting for inflation, the pair have received the equivalent of more than £1.2bn in total revenues from the two estates and their income from duchies grew sixteenfold during Elizabeth’s reign. Buckingham Palace said the figures were “speculative”.

Royal finances: the King’s inheritance

6

Ardern tells ‘nerds’ they can win

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has bowed out of politics with a “rousing speech that assured other nerds, criers, and huggers that they too could one day lead”, reported CNN. Ardern said “you can be anxious, sensitive, kind, and wear your heart on your sleeve, you can be a mother or not, you can be an ex-Mormon or not, you can be a nerd, a crier, a hugger” and “not only can you be here; you can lead”. She announced her shock resignation in January, saying she had “no more left in the tank”.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern blames burnout for shock resignation

7

Warning over mackerels’ future

The Marine Conservation Society said that Atlantic mackerel has been given an unsustainable rating for the first time in 10 years because of overfishing. Customers have been told to stop buying it after it was downgraded from green, the best choice, to amber (“needs improvement”) in the society’s online Good Fish Guide. The charity also said that people should avoid eating crab and lobster from some parts of the UK to reduce the risk of whales dying from becoming entangled in fishing gear.

8

Smart motorways ‘scrapped’

There are no plans for new smart motorways to be built in the UK after serious concerns were raised over safety and cost, reported the i news site. Ministers paused the rollout of all new routes in 2022, pending a review of safety data. Now, the rest of the £3bn project, which was to see new roads constructed in Greater Manchester, the Pennines and London, has been shelved for the foreseeable future, said the website. Smart motorways have been blamed for a number of deaths since their introduction.

How safe are smart motorways?

9

Tory suspended after Times sting

A Conservative MP has been suspended from the parliamentary party after being caught indicating he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money. Scott Benton, the member for Blackpool South, has been stripped of the whip after it was revealed that he met reporters from The Times posing as employees of TAHR Partners, a fake company lobbying to influence government policy. In response to report, Benton said he “had no further contact” with the fake company after the meeting and had been “concerned” that what was being asked of him breached the rules.

10

Country folk ‘not entitled to peace’

A judge has ruled that country homeowners aren’t entitled to peace and quiet, reported The Telegraph. Zoe Bucknell, a corporate lawyer who attempted to block a development near her farmhouse in Kent, was told by a judge that she “is not automatically entitled to the maintenance of the same rural peace and quiet” as when she bought her £1.3 million property in 2014. The court rejected her claim that “noise disturbance, vibration [and] fumes” from traffic passing up the driveway past her “quiet and secluded forever home” posed a threat to her peace.

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